[menog] [ICANN Blog] Important Corrections to General Inaccuracies and Misconceptions Regarding U.S. Announcement and IANA Functions

Fahd Batayneh fahd.batayneh at icann.org
Fri Mar 21 01:58:55 UTC 2014

(sorry for cross posting)




A blog post by ICANN President and CEO



On Friday, March 14 the U.S. Government announced its intention to
transition its stewardship responsibilities of the Internet Assigned Numbers
Authority (IANA) Functions to the global multistakeholder community-a key
component of the Internet ecosystem. The IANA Functions are the Internet's
technical identifiers, specifically, the top-level domain names of the
Domain Name System, IP addresses, and protocol parameter registries.


The Internet is expanding at an explosive pace. But as it grows, we must
ensure that it continues to promote choice and competition, drive innovation
and infuse development across the globe. The Internet is a global resource
and all stakeholders deserve a voice in its governance.


Unfortunately, some critics of the U.S. Government's announcement have begun
to speculate and report through the media a number of inaccurate arguments.
I would like to correct the record on some important claims.


1.	The announcement is NOT a final decision to surrender control of the

On Friday, the U.S. government asked the global community to develop a
proposal for transferring its stewardship of the IANA Functions. The
government was not announcing a new law, rather initiating an inclusive,
global discussion. The government also set clear boundaries for that
discussion, including a very clear statement that it will not release
control of these functions to any government-led or inter-governmental
organization solution.


Instead, ICANN will lead a transparent dialogue among governments, the
private sector, and civil society to determine the transition process and
establish a governing body that is globally accountable. This process
ensures each of the Internet's diverse stakeholders has a voice in its


In addition, the U.S. government has made it clear that the transition
proposal must address the following four principles:

*	Support and enhance the multistakeholder model
*	Maintain the security, stability and resiliency of the Internet DNS
*	Meet the needs and expectation of the global customers and partners
of the IANA services
*	Maintain the openness of the Internet


In other words, any proposal that affects the openness of the Internet and
its multistakeholder governance will be rejected.


2.	The announcement is NOT a response to disclosures by Edward Snowden
about the National Security Agency and its policies.

One media report claims ICANN lobbied the U.S.Government to relinquish its
oversight "using the Snowden leaks as a lever." This couldn't be further
from the truth. The government first envisioned this transfer when it began
contracting with ICANN in 1998. For the past 16 years, ICANN has protected
the open Internet with increasing operational excellence - itself
accountable to the global community. The March 14 announcement was the final
step down a path paved years ago.


3.	The announcement will NOT lead to a division of the Internet into
smaller, less technically resilient pieces.

 "A digital Iron Curtain" will not be imposed resulting from this
announcement. An opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal claims that by
stepping back, the United States will divide "425,000 global routes of the
Internet into less technically resilient pieces." In fact, the exact
opposite is true.


The March 14 announcement is an important step toward preserving and
protecting the open Internet. U.S. oversight will not be usurped by
authoritarian governments eager to censor free speech - or by any other
inter-governmental institution. Instead, a globally accountable,
multistakeholder governing body will ensure the Internet continues to
promote the free exchange of ideas, propel innovation and drive economic


4.	The announcement transfers stewardship of an administrative and
clerical function. ICANN does NOT serve a policing function in the Internet

Let me be clear, ICANN coordinates one technical component of the Internet
ecosystem - the names, numbers and protocol parameters of the Internet.
ICANN does not control content on the Internet. ICANN has no role relating
to Internet content and cannot enact Internet censorship.


These technical components of the Internet have been working well for nearly
two decades underneath a multistakeholder process with the U.S. government
holding a stewardship role. In reality, ICANN has successfully administered
the IANA Functions with increasing autonomy for the past 16 years and this
announcement will not alter its commitment to the security and stability of
the Internet's Domain Name System.


5.	The announcement will NOT affect the billions who use the Internet
every day.

Some have speculated through the media that the U.S. announcement will "put
the open Internet at risk" for everyday users. This concern is not rooted in
reality. The transition of stewardship will not affect the functionality of
the Internet.  The coordination of the IANA functions will continue
unchanged. The announcement reinforces the principles that the Internet
belongs to everyone and is responsible to everyone.


Instead of politicizing the debate over the U.S. Government's decision to
transition stewardship of the Internet's technical functions, let's move
forward with the discussion we need to have - how to engage in the necessary
discussion to develop an effective transition process, one that continues to
ensure an open Internet that belongs to everyone.

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